H Farook, a 31-year-old daily wage labourer and self-proclaimed atheist, was hacked and killed by a suspected gang of four people on Thursday night. Coimbatore Police have said that the killers wanted Farook to shutdown a WhatsApp group that consisted of 400 muslims, which they believe was inspired by rationalist Periyar ideology.
Farook was a member of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK), and administered a WhatsApp group comprising 400 muslim members from different regions in Tamil Nadu.
After a 30-year-old man named Ansath was arrested in relation to the incident, two others have also surrendered. Saddam Hussain, resident of Podanur in the city, arrived at the court this morning with his advocate and surrendered.
Another man Shamsuddin, hailing from Karumbukadai, surrendered before the same court on Monday evening, police said.
According to The Indian Express, one of the reasons that could have led to Farook’s murder, was a photo he had posted in the WhatsApp group called ‘Allahu Murdhath’, in which one of his children was seen holding a placard with the handwritten slogan “Kadavul illai, Kadavul illai, Kadavul illai (No God, No God, No God)”.
An investigating officer told The Indian Express:
There were both personal meetings and multiple phone calls from them as a request and a warning. He (Farook) ignored them and went ahead. Still, they… threatened him. Finally, it was his public statement of raising his children as atheists which provoked them. More than his rational arguments, they felt that taking such public positions using children was a threat to Islam.
While Ansath, a 30-year-old Muslim realtor, surrendered before the judicial magistrate court on Friday evening in connection with the murder, police suspect a gang of four was involved in the murder.
Two other men, Saddam Hussain of Podanur, and Shamsuddin of Karmbukadai had surrendered themselves to the police on Monday evening. Hussain’s advocate, however, claimed that there was no proof of his client’s involvement in the murder.
Both Saddam and Shamsuddin were remanded to 14 days judicial custody and ordered to be produced on 4 April.
About 70 activists of political parties and outfits were arrested on Sunday when they tried to stage a demonstration, demanding the arrest of those involved in the 16 March murder of an atheist and a Dravida Viduthalai Kazhakam (DVK) worker in the city.
Activists of DVK, Left Parties, Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhakam (TPDK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal, and five other outfits raised slogans against the murder and demanded that the gang involved in the crime be arrested, police said.
TPDK General Secretary K Ramakrishnan demanded that the government provide a job to the wife of the deceased or a family member.
All the activists were released later, police said.
(With inputs from PTI)